Right from the beginning, Johann Besser realised two things. One, that he might be beaten by someone else inventing and selling a perpetual motion machine, and secondly, that he might have difficulty in getting paid for the secret of his machine. He used a method adopted by many before him, of hiding his secret in code and then published in a document, just a Gallilleo, Sir Christopher Wren and others did. He also sought recognition post humously. He admits as much in one of his books and it is clear from the evidence that he set out plans to accomplish this. Unfortunately his disguise of the code was almost too good, and hardly anyone was aware of it and allied to the apparent impossibility of his claims, any such clues which might have been searched for were ignored.
The most obvious clue lies in his well-known pseudonym, ORFFYREUS. This was accomplished by the simple means of shifting the alphabet 13 letters to the right or writing the letters of the second half of the alphabet beneath the first half and substituting the letters above with those below. BESSLER becomes ORFFYRES, which he then, after the custom of the time, Latinised to become ORFFYREUS.
Other clues abound and it quickly becomes clear that a wealth of codes exists within each and every publication he produced. I became adept over a number of years, at finding the codes, but it took longer to decipher them and yet once they are understood there is little complexity to them. However one coded passage whose meaning still eludes me is in his ‘Apologia Poetica’. It consists of 141 Biblical references occupying some seven pages of the book. It is obvioulsy a code but despite several years of study I have been unable to understand exactly how it should be deciphered. Publication of this book has engendered much interest not just in Bessler, himself, but also in deciphering the code.
I am certain that the code will eventually be deciphered and we will know what the inventor was trying to tell us, in the mean time I shall continue to construct what I hope is the working version of his original wheel, from the codes I have managed to read.
Copyright © 2007 John Collins